TARYN CHAVEZ-Executive Director/Co-Founder
Taryn has been an active professional in the dance industry for over eighteen years. Taryn’s vision for Avanti Dance Company was to create a performing arts facility dedicated to excellence in artistry, technique and professionalism, which is evident in her own training and teaching philosophy. With a forte in Jazz, Tap and Contemporary and strong integrity for precision and style, Taryn has been a sought after guest instructor/choreographer at many studios and high school dance programs. Taryn’s choreography has been featured at the Student Dance Concert at UC Santa Barbara, Youth American Grand Prix Finals in New York, and has been recognized with many top placements at various regional and national competitions.
Taryn performed professionally for over eight years as a company member for with “Rhapsody in Taps” under the direction of Linda Sohl-Ellison. Although Taryn enjoys performing, her true happiness is found in choreographing, teaching and connecting with her students. She loves to highlight the unique skill sets of each dancer she works with, while giving them new, unfamiliar movement to push them out of their comfort zone and reach new levels.
Taryn encourages her students to believe in themselves and that anything can be achieved with passion, dedication and hard work. Taryn’s students have gone on to obtain college dance scholarships and win prestigious awards such as the Music Center Spotlight Award and the Young Arts Scholarship.
NIKKI CHAREST-Company Director
Nikki started dancing at the age of nine. She grew up in Orange County, where she trained in all styles of dance, with a concentration in commercial jazz, contemporary, ballet, and hip-hop. She competed for eight years where she earned many top regional and national placements and overall awards and was also a member of the El Toro High School Varsity Dance Team for three years where she also trained in cheer and pom.
Nikki graduated from Chapman University with bachelor’s degree in Business and a Minor in dance. During her time at Chapman, Nikki’s choreographic work was featured in several performances. In 2017, Nikki completed an internship with The Movement Talent Agency (MTA), where she learned the inner workings of the dance industry and was signed for professional representation as a dancer with MTA shortly thereafter.
Already a talented performer and strong technical dancer, Nikki has also proven to be a natural and gifted choreographer. Her pieces are known for being unique and theatrical, consistently placed in the top overalls, earning many first overall placements at the regional and national level and judge’s awards for “Best Musicality and Choreography.”
As the Company Director, Nikki continues to bring her “A” game sharing her creativity and passion in everything she does.
JORDAN BARKER-Mini Company Director
Jordan, an Orange County native, began dancing at the age of three. She has trained in all styles of dance with an emphasis on commercial dance. Jordan began competing in dance at the age of five and trained most of her youth years under the guidance of Taryn Chavez. Jordan’s last year competing as an Avanti Senior Performance Company member in 2018, earning a national championship win and several top placements with her team.
Jordan was part of the dance program all four of her years at Newport Harbor High School and had her choreography featured at the District Dance Festival, representing NHHS, in both her junior and senior years.
Jordan graduated from Orange Coast College with her AA in dance and is currently obtaining her BA in dance at Cal State Long Beach.
Jordan teaches jazz, lyrical and technique and choreographs for Avanti’s performance company. Her choreography has earned many top overall awards at the regional and national levels.
She is proud to teach at her home studio and loves to be a part of training the next generation of Avanti dancers. Jordan brings her own style while still staying true to the principles of the training and technique she has learned at ADC.
HILLARY BASSOFF – Aerial Arts Director
Hillary received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and was a performer and specialty choreographer for the UCSB Dance Company touring throughout California and Europe. While in Europe, she was selected as a guest instructor for a master dance class at an arts boarding school in Prague. As a soloist in the company, she was honored as the recipient of the prestigious Alice Condodina Performance Award and was chosen to be a guest artist for Santa Barbara Dance Theater.
While living in Santa Barbara, she discovered her love for aerial dance, performing as an aerialist and dancer in Christina McCarthy’s “Repremend Bubbles” and training at the Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Dance. She then continued her aerial training in New York City at Aerial Arts NYC and Body & Pole before moving back to Orange County to pursue her artistic career.
Starting in 2014, she performed independently for private parties and corporate events, and was invited to be a member of Ruby Karen’s Circo Etereo Professional Company specializing in aerial arts, circus acts, and dance choreography. She was involved in choreographing and performing aerial silks, acrobatic, and ground routines for various special events, weddings, birthday parties, and festivals in the Orange County and Los Angeles area. Soon thereafter, she created her own aerial dance company, On Edge Aerial Entertainment, with Laura Olivas, hoping to bring their ideas of molding dance with aerial work to life with innovative concepts that will touch audiences alike. Hillary is beyond excited to be working with Avanti Dance Company to share her passion for aerial dance and hopes her choreography of combining contemporary dance with aerial artistry inspires both dancers and non-dancers alike.
ABIGAIL DAVIS-Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz
Abigail began her dance studies at a Capital City Dance Studio in Iowa at the age of 7 where she studied tap, ballet, lyrical, and hip hop. Her family moved to CA when she was 11 where she spent a year exploring dance studios in Orange County. For the next 2 years she trained and performed with the Maple Conservatory Dance Company. She spent her summer breaks attending Maple’s Summer Intensive program and the “Summer in the Arts” Dance Program at UCI.
In 2017, she joined Avanti Dance Company as an Elite Performance Company Member and in her first season dancing with Avanti, Abigail earned a national champion win and several top placements with her team. Abigail is “living her dream” teaching all level dancers. Abigail feels lucky to have had so many mentors who have modeled for her a love for dance!
DANTE CORPUZ-Acro/Tumbling, Jazz, Contemporary
Dante Corpuz began his movement career as a competitive and Junior Olympian gymnast before transitioning into the dance industry. His training derives from competitive dance styles such as: jazz, lyrical, hip hop and contemporary. Dante attended the University of California, Santa Barbara for a BFA in Dance; studying Ballet, Modern and Choreography prior to pursuing his dream as a Professional Commercial Dancer in Los Angeles, CA.
Dante’s current works include dancing for television, film and live stage sets for Olivia Rodrigo (SOUR Prom Concert Film & the MTV VMA’s) and Blue 13 Dance Company (Disney’s Festival of Holidays at Disney’s California Adventure Park), music videos for artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Acraze & DPR IAN, as well as TV appearances for CBS (The Activist) & Amazon. Dante is currently represented by Bloc Talent Agency and is a member of the LUME Dance Performance Collective, working under the co-direction of Maryann Chavez and Monika Felice Smith. Dante hopes to inspire future dancers to chase their dreams and never give up. Not every path is the same. Trust in yourself and abilities and everything will fall into place.
Theresa has been teaching gymnastics for over 35 years and is a certified Acrobatics Arts Instructor. Theresa started out as a young gymnast herself training with Cathy Rigby Gymnastics Center in Mission Viejo where she competed throughout her high school years. Theresa started teaching gymnastics at the young age of 15 and became an assistant team coach at the age of 18 in artistic gymnastics.
Theresa later started a 20-year career in law enforcement while continuing to teach tumbling skills to dancers in Orange County. Her students have competed many top dance competitions including Showstoppers, Starpower, MOVE and other prestigious dance competitions.
Many of Theresa’s former students have gone on to become professional dancers/performers using their tumbling skills to land them in professional companies/shows such as Momix Dance Company, Broadway and Cirque shows.
Theresa also has 2 daughters who are level 10 and level 7 Nationally ranked gymnasts.
Noelle Lee is the youngest of 3 ballet dancers in her family and began dancing at the age of 2. She learned many varying styles of dance from Ballet, to Hip-Hop, and even Scottish Highland. At the age of 7, her family moved to Orange County, and she decided to focus on ballet.
From 2010-2017, she trained at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy where she studied ballet under the direction of Dmitiri and Jennifer Kulev; while there, she also studied jazz, tap, and contemporary under the guidance of Taryn Chavez and many others.
At the age of 16, Noelle studied at the Dutch National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam as a Trainee. The following year she trained at the European School of Ballet in Amsterdam under the guidance of Jean-Yves Esquerre, Christiane Marchant, and Olivier Wecxsteen.
Noelle discovered the importance of cross-training both her mind and body at an early age after seeing the strains that ballet can have on a person. Whether it is a different style of dance, ballet technique, or a new sport, she always found that learning new ways to train her body helped her in ballet. Noelle has been awarded scholarships and attended numerous national and international summer intensives which allowed her to expand her knowledge even further; these include American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet, Dresden Semperoper Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and International Baller Masterclasses in Prague.
She is proud to be teaching at Avanti where the environment not only grants students the ability and confidence to learn new things, but also encourages them to do so.
Michael Houston received his first 10 years of training from former principle dancers at the acclaimed Houston Ballet and San Antonio Ballet. Supplemental training over the next 15 years includes workshops, master classes and private coaching from world renowned ballet masters from Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi, Kirov, and Joffrey Ballet.
As principle dancer with Ballet Repertory Theatre, Michael’s stage performances include: Grand Pas de Deux’s from Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Flower Festival, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Black Swan, Grand Pas Classique, Satanella, and Esmeralda. Full length Ballet Lead roles include Coppelia, La Bayadere, Paquita, Les Sylphides, and Nutcracker.
During Mr. Houston’s tenure as Owner/Director/Trainer at Orange County Dance Center from 1994-2012, students received professional contracts to Pacific Northwest Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet West, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin, Ballet Pacifica, American Repertory Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Complexions and Cirque de Soleil. Michael’s students have received national training scholarships from ABT, Jacqueline Onassis School, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, The Rock School, SAB, Kirov Academy, Joffrey New York, Boston Ballet, Julliard, Ballet West in addition to contracts and performances with Alvin Ailey, Alberta Ballet (Canada), Boston Ballet 2, Julliard Dance Ensemble/European Tour, The Metropolitan Opera New York, Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Radio City Rockettes and Mia Michaels.
Mr. Houston’s original choreography includes writing and directing all phases of an original 3 act Ballet, (under copyright), “Corazones de Espana,” full length Nutcracker, sections of Romeo and Juliet, Alice in Wonderland, and the restaging of many others. Last year Mr. Houston was acknowledged for his ballet training in dance articles in both Pointe and Capezio magazine respectively.
We are truly honored to have Michael Houston joining us at Avanti and sharing his incredible training and expertise as a top professional in the ballet industry with our students.
MYLES LAVALLEE-Ballet, Contemporary, Technique
CHADD MOREAU-Hip Hop
Like most dancers, Chadd started his love for dance at an early age watching Michael Jackson’s “Moonwalker”. During junior high Chadd discovered his love for hip hop through breaking and popping. In high school he committed four years to the dance program understanding choreography and learning how to perform. Through those four years he decided that this was his passion and he never looked back. Chadd entered the community in 2005 becoming a member of Team Millenia, a hip hop dance organization founded in 1998. Chadd had the honor of working with such choreographers as Courtney Miller Jr., Super Dave, Fatima and Debbie Allen. Some of Chadd’s professional accolades include dancing for both Raven Symone and Jessica Simpson. In 2007 he left the audition scene to focus on his other loves, playing music and teaching dance.
As dance instructor Chadd has taught at several southern California studios and was formerly on faculty at Orange County School of the ARTS (OCSA) in the Commercial Dance Department. Along with forming the group “Nobility Mob”, an all male performing group, Chadd is also part of the BoogieZone family as an official member of Breed, a professional exhibition dance company and an instructor at BoogieZone Utopia.
When he is not teaching or dancing himself, Chadd is very involved in the music community. Chadd formed his own cover band in addition he is an active DJ something which spun off from his love of the hip hop culture. With the help of his business partner, he started a mobile DJ business called Live 2 DJ. He also produces custom music and mixes for dancers, professional choreographers, and fitness instructors. Chadd prides himself on being a universal DJ, playing anything from top 40s, old school hip hop, funk, disco, and EDM. He utilizes his turntables whenever possible by scratching and making mixing exciting. His influences are DJ Jazzy Jeff, Grand Master Flash, DJ Scratch, Mix Master Mike, and Jam Master Jay. One thing that continues to draw Chadd to DJing is the performance aspect of rocking a party and getting people dancing and enjoying the music.
Guest & Rotating Faculty
ALI PFLEGER (Contemporary/Choreography)
Ali was born and raised in the costal city of Newport Beach, California. She began dancing at the age of 9. At age 13, Ali began apprenticing for a professional dance company based out of LA, called MusEffect, under the direction of Jessica Starr. She attributes her growth in dance to being thrown into a company where the majority of the dancers were around 6 years older than her. She was the youngest member ever inducted into the company. Ali attended Orange County High School of the Arts as a major in Commercial Dance, until she’d chose the online education route in order to more seriously pursue her dance career. She is currently a member of V Mo, an internationally ranked hip hop company under the direction of Danyel Moulton.
Ali prides herself on her diverse training and exploration of such a wide array of dance styles that has greatly attributed to her own movement and teaching style. She assisted Intrigue Dance Intensive’s 2016-2017 tour, and through this opportunity, Ali found a love for education and creation that she is continuing to pursue. Over the past couple years, she has taught and choreographed throughout the United States, as well as Canada and Costa Rica. Most recently, Ali had the opportunity to produce, direct, and choreograph her own full-length show, “Maybe This Time” in the Spring of 2019.
NIKO BERMEA (Hip Hop/Choreography)
Nikolas Bermea (Niko) is a hip-hop and contemporary fusion dancer/choreographer from Austin, TX. In July of 2015, his family relocated to Austin, and Niko was immediately immersed into dance. First beginning his training in hip-hop, and later branching out into more classical styles such as
jazz, ballet, and contemporary. Niko moved to Los Angeles in 2019 to pursue a professional career in dance, where he will continue to work under LA’s top artists and choreographers.
He continues to host hip-hop and contemporary fusion master classes, intensives, and residencies throughout and the United States and internationally. Niko has had the opportunity to teach on conventions such as Intrigue Dance Intensive, The Lab Dance Convention, and Carolina Dance Masters. He was also a company member on world renowned hip hop company, V Mo, under the direction of Danyel Moulton. In addition, Niko is an apprentice on the LA- based company, MusEffect, under the direction of Jessica Starr.